Jeremy Malczyk’s 2012 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is no prize.
It has 70,000 hard miles on it, and the interior has been finely detailed by his two young children: beige leather buffed with beige Cheerios. But the vehicle comes equipped with a two-liter diesel engine doctored to cheat on emissions tests, so it will likely fetch almost $22,000 in Volkswagen’s buyback program. A similarly used Sportwagen without the dirty diesel would fetch about $9,000 on the open market.
A U.S. District Court in California may approve the details of a massive Volkswagen repurchase program as early as Monday, and checks are expected to trickle down this fall to U.S. owners of some 482,000 Golfs, Beetles, Jettas, and Passats, as well as Audi A3 sedans sold with engines that violate emissions standards. It will mark a painful hit for Volkswagen-part of a $15.3 billion settlement with the federal government and California regulators — and a windfall for owners of otherwise deeply depreciated vehicles.
“I bought it just before I kind of found Jesus, financially,” Malczyk said of his 4-year-old Sportwagen. “So this is going to be kind of a nice way to reset.”
The average purchase is expected to range from $12,500 to $44,000, with values pegged to the value of each car just before the diesel scandal broke in September 2015. All of the afflicted vehicles will be considered in “clean condition,” even if the wheels are falling off. Tacked onto the value of each car will be a “restitution” payment equal to 20 percent of the vehicle value, plus $2,987.
All told, owners stand to make at least double what their cars were worth just before news of the scandal.
“Financially, consumers are going to do far better than if diesel-gate never happened,” said Ernie Garcia, chief executive officer of Carvana, an online used car dealer in 14 U.S. cities. “My guess is most of them will be able to make a decision on this very quickly.”
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